There had been a lot said in the media over the last week, from Charles Barkley continuing to say the San Antonio Spurs are overrated, to a certain Dallas Mavericks forward talking about having to go through the Los Angeles Lakers, not the Spurs, to get to the NBA Finals.
If there ever was a time to earn respect, it would be to win against a top-tier team.
That top-tier team was the Miami Heat, who were 43-18 before both teams tipped at 8:30 p.m. CST last night.
The same Heat who have an entire section dedicated to them on ESPN, the same Heat who have been penciled in as NBA champions ever since the cameras went off and the telecast of “The Decision” ended.
James and his super friends came into the AT&T Center yesterday and left with a new respect for the Spurs.
“They played extremely well. This is a team that’s clicking on all cylinders right now,” Heat forward Lebron James said. “Everyone on the team has confidence Tim Duncan all the way down to the last guy off the bench. We saw tonight why they are the best team in the league.”
The Spurs, who re-inserted Tony Parker into the starting lineup, got started early, with Manu Ginobili getting things going on the offensive end and Matt Bonner leading the Spurs with four three-pointers through the first quarter.
The Spurs ended the quarter up 36-12 and never looked back.
They executed offensively and defensively enough to frustrate the Heat. The first quarter deficit, and the Heat’s inability to score at will proved to be a hole to deep to dig out of.
By the time the last seconds ticked off the clock, the Heat had their third straight loss and the Spurs had a dominant 30-point win, 125-95.
Eight Spurs finished in double figures, led by Ginobili’s 20 points and the Spurs set a record with 17 three-pointers made.
Jeff Garcia talked to Surya Fernandez of the excellent Hot Hot Hoops blog and got his thoughts before last night’s game.
“Ginobili. He’s too smart and crafty not to wear down his defender, which should be Wade. If he gets it going, I’m not sure how the Heat will respond because they don’t have a lockdown perimeter defender (like a Bruce Bowen) to come off the bench to relieve Wade. Their guards off the bench are shooters like Eddie House and I don’t see Mike Bibby defending Ginobili.”
“This is the toughest back-to-back set for the Heat, especially after the emotionally draining loss last night to the Magic. The Spurs should win the game but the Heat might be extra motivated to prove their doubters wrong and if the Big 3 are firing on all cylinders they can be unstoppable.”
Tony Parker is back, and if you’ve had him buried on your roster, he proved last night that he does not need to be brought back slowly. He’s ready, he’ll get his starting minutes back, and his 15 points and eight assists should be enough to get your attention, considering it was his first game back.
“We basically got blitzed right from the beginning, we made a little bit of a run there at the end of the second quarter. But, they outplayed us, blitzed us, and there’s nothing really else to say.” – Heat coach Erik Spolestra.
Tweeting the game
“El Heat got whooped by Los Spurs last night @KingJames and co better dial their La Talents up.” – @per_dm.
“Further proof that $ doesn’t always by happiness!!!” -@katemdempsey.